As a Personal Chef, I service a number of clients who have been put on low salt diets. Although cooking without salt is possible, there is really no substitute for the bright finish and depth of flavor salt can give a meal.
In researching salt, I found a video from the Salt Guru who put it all in perspective. One vital commodity to hospitals, aside from blood, is salt. Saline intravenous plumps up the cells in the body and reconditions the internal organs to prevent shock from treatment. Basically, the saline or salt solution rejuvunates you. So why do doctors prescribe a low salt and no salt diets?
It is certainly a mystery, but it is because of this that I wanted to find a better way than cooking without salt. If I could come up with a lower soduim product that also had all trace minerals in tact plus added nutrients where possible, it might just be a solution to waining health and a bland culinary palate.
My journey began with thinking of all the things natural sea salt was missing. Iodine is one. Iodine is a mineral essential to keeping the thyroid gland healthy in addition to being a preventive of mental retardation in children. It was added to salt in the 30’s to cure an outbreak of goiter (enlarged thyroid gland) which had become an epidemic due to poor nutrition. Although the problem was corrected, companies such as Morton’s still adds iodine to their salt today, but in a synthetic form. Natural sea salt is void of iodine, and since this is such a vital nutrient, I wanted it to be present in the recipe, but in a natural, bio-available way. I found a wonderful pairing by adding seaweed. Seaweed is a wonderfully, whole nutritious food. I chose Alaria simply due to the elevated amounts of iodine vs other seaweeds. It also has a nutty flavor with less briny aftertaste.
Edible alaea clay is a great source of iron. In Hawaiian culture, the clay was used in cleansing rituals and is, even today, held sacred. Alaea clay is by-product of volcanic ash and is categorized as a kaolin clay holding detoxifying, purifying properties which can assist in eliminating toxic, heavy metals from the body. For these reasons, I knew is was a perfect addition to the mix. It also added a beautiful reddish hue to the salt.
Next, I wanted flavors that paired with different types of foods. I took my foraging experience learned while studying with my friend and mentor, the Rockland Forager, Paul Tappaden, as the way to make this product very unique. We came up a list of the most nutritionally packed, wild edible plants that are available right here in Rockland County, NY. This is where the “wild” aspect of the name comes in. Wild plants are significantly higher in nutrition and vibrancy. Many are considered weeds or invasives. The best way I know how to get rid of them is to eat them!
Keeping with the need for lower sodium, a pinch or 1/4 teaspoon of Wild Sea Salt has 315 mg of sodium, where as a 1/4 teaspoon of Celtic (458 mg), Himalayan (520 mg) and/or Real Salt (530 mg) have at least 30% more sodium with no extra nutritional values as enhanced and no iodine in the same amount of measure.
I also did my best to source most of these ingredients within the USA. Why go to the Himylayas or France for salt. We have an abundance of it right here and it tastes great! The salt used for Wild Sea Salt is sourced from the San Francisco Bay and the Seaweed is sourced from the beautiful state of Maine. If I could, I would be harvesting all the wild edibles myself, but, alas, I need to have a traceable source to be a commercial product, so I instead, I source from Mountain Rose Herbs in Eugene, Oregon, Frontier Co-op in Iowa and local herbaries, when available. These companies knows herbs and are understanding of sustainable practices, harvesting at the right time of the year and even at the right time of day in order to get the most goodness from each plant.
Rather than using conventional herbs, spices and techniques (such as smoking), I chose to stick with what is already growing around us in the wild. Some say that plants come to you. In every community, there are certain plants growing that can heal and strengthen what is lacking. We just need to know where to look. Sometimes, it is no further than your own backyard.
Please come and visit for a tasting of the salts at any of the Farmers’ Markets I will be doing this year. In addition, I have been active in finding local farms, shops and offices to stock Wild Sea Salt. Encourage your local health food store to carry our product! Write me a note (on the contact page) to let me know where you wish the Wild Sea Salts to be sold.